REYAD HOSEIN (NYLO Intern)
The new school term is set to begin in five days time and some parents are still rushing to get school supplies for their children. Book stores along High Street in San Fernando were crowded with parents and children seeking to fill their book lists. Some parents complained about the high prices of certain textbooks .
Owner of Unique Book Store which has a few branches in the country, Len Doodnath spoke with Newsday yesterday, "Maintaining targeted sales has been a challenge this year and the reason would be the uneasiness with respect to stable jobs and increase in unemployment." Doodnath explained that Parents would normally prioritize items on booklists with books as the first and depending on the buying power of the parent they would purchase the more important textbooks with the rest of books, stationery and uniforms subsequently. He also went on to say that books are changed and updated according to the syllabus and that Mathematics and English books are the most sold books.
Doodnath was asked about the used textbook initiative that his bookstore implemented decades ago. "It was an idea born out of the economic downturn in the early nineties where an economic option for purchasing new books was provided by Unique Book Stores for parents . Today it remains an option which parents continue to appreciate."
Meanwhile parents complained about the high prices of books. Nalini Ali who was shopping at Nigel R Khan book store located on High Street in San Fernando said it ‘s a very difficult time . "I just got a job and we have to wait for my husband's salary as well, this is why we bought books so late. I have four kids and spent over $1, 200. in books. Imagine a dictionary costs $140.”
Mellisa Nemai a single mother with two children shopping at Unique Book Store in San Fernando also said the high prices were taking a toll on her. "I have spent $ 800. on books already and I still have to buy more, people who don't have a job and have kids I am sorry for you all. This is stress and it hurting my pockets."
Another parent, Yashim Mohammed who was purchasing school supplies at RIK bookstores spoke of the challenges of finding a particular book. "I am looking all over for one textbook and I can't find it. These books keep updating, I don't know if it is a money making scheme."
Other parents lamented that the school textbook system did not provide much assistance to them because most schools recommend books that are not in the school textbook programme.